That was harder than it looked

Paid summer vacation? Twice as much money as a journalist? Where do I sign up?

Admittedly, that’s all I took into consideration before accepting a job as a high school journalism/newspaper/yearbook teacher. How hard could teaching really be? I remember high school. I had fun. This is going to be fine.

It turns out, teaching is really, Really, REALLY hard. It’s probably definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. As I sit here at my desk during the last few minutes of my last class of the day on the last day of school, I am amazed that I lasted through the entire school year. At points, I was convinced I wouldn’t make it. Afterall, I did a lot of things I never thought I would do: I learned how to battle the tsunami-like strength of teen-aged apathy, I learned how to keep my sanity at respectable levels despite regularly repeating the same sentences over and over again like a broken record, I learned how to converse with parents who are overly concerned and with parents who aren’t concerned enough, I learned the definitions of more acronyms than I care to admit, I learned that 12-hour work days are not cool, and the list goes on and on.

Some days were better than others—like when a student told me that after taking my class she decided she wants to major in journalism—and some days were on par with some of my more terrifying nightmares. But whether I wanted to pull my hair out at the end of the day or give big bear hugs to my most enthusiastic, hard-working students, it’s still one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had because of the extreme combination of those struggles and rewards.

Teaching has given me a greater appreciation of the learning process. After delivering lectures and leading group discussions, I found myself coveting the students who get to come to school everyday and simply soak up new information, new words, new experiences. And it made me really appreciate the best of my high school teachers who committed so much time to enabling the learning process. I question whether or not I will ever be able to teach with the same passion, enthusiasm and innovation as those life-changing teachers of my past.

With only a few minutes left before this spring turns to summer, I want to forever tattoo the Internet with a big THANK YOU to my greatest teachers who enabled my learning and, with resilience,  battled the struggles of being an educator that I am just now coming to discover. Thanks for your patience, and your kindness and your intellect. Maybe I didn’t appreciate you then, but I sure appreciate you now.

Now, let’s party.

One Comment on “That was harder than it looked”

  1. Kmom says:

    Congratulations on making it through your first year. Slings and arrows, best of times, worst of times, you survived.

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